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Alaska Realizes Boost in Early Literacy Following Alaska Reads Act Implementation

Jun 5, 2024

Governor Mike Dunleavy is pleased to announce new data demonstrates that Alaska’s youngest students are experiencing significant advances in early literacy as a result of the Alaska Reads Act.

The landmark legislation, co-sponsored by Governor Mike Dunleavy and former Senator Tom Begich, was crafted to ensure all students can read at grade level by third grade and is reshaping Alaska’s education landscape. The Alaska Reads Act employs evidence-based reading strategies, including professional development in the Science of Reading, and introduces new curricula and targeted interventions. This comprehensive approach has led to significant gains in reading proficiency among kindergarten through third-grade students statewide.

Alaska is currently in the second year of implementing the Alaska Reads Act. The recently concluded school year is the first year of the law’s accountability requirements.

At the start of this academic year, only 41% of students met early literacy benchmarks. By the school year’s end, the percentage of students meeting benchmarks rose to 57%. Among kindergarten students, proficiency rates rose from 24% at the beginning of the year to 60% by the end of the year.

The State Board of Education selected Amplify to provide districts the early literacy screener required by the Alaska Reads Act. According to Amplify, “Alaska’s first year of statewide implementation of the mCLASS 8th Edition assessment has yielded improvements in student performance that surpass those observed in the rest of our national user base, which includes over two million students across schools in America.”

“I’m encouraged by the improvements Alaska’s students are already experiencing because of the Alaska Reads Act,” said Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy. “As these results are beginning to show, when we implement effective education reform, Alaska’s students are capable of success.”

“The remarkable progress we’ve seen, especially among our youngest learners is a testament to the collective effort of Alaskans across the state,” said DEED Commissioner Deena Bishop. “These results not only highlight the effectiveness of the Alaska Reads Act, but also sets a promising trajectory for the educational future of Alaska.”

State Board Chair James Fields extended heartfelt gratitude to the educators, parents, and students for their dedication and hard work. “This progress is a testament to the commitment and resilience of our teachers, students, and their families,” Chair Fields said. “Together, we are making strides toward a future where every Alaskan child possesses the fundamental skills to succeed. Thank you for your relentless pursuit of educational excellence.”

The success of the Alaska Reads Act underscores the effectiveness of early literacy interventions aligned with the Science of Reading and highlights the critical role of community and parental involvement in education. Governor Dunleavy, Commissioner Bishop, and the staff at DEED remain dedicated to supporting our schools and continuing to refine our educational strategies.

For further details on the Alaska Reads Act and its impact, please visit The Alaska Reads Act – Education and Early Development.

Chart depicts the distribution of Alaska K-3 students reading proficiency relative to
benchmarks at the beginning of year (BOY), middle of year (MOY), and end of year (EOY).


Chart depicts the changes in the percentage of students in the Well Below Benchmark
and At/Above Benchmark categories from the beginning of the year to the end of the year
for Alaska students and the rest of the nation.